L'auteur, un linguiste, décrit sommairement les grandes périodes qui ont marqué l'histoire des langues dans le monde. Il circonscrit ensuite la notion de langue de travail. Il applique enfin cette notion au travailleur québécois de langue française, pour en souligner les conséquences dangereuses pour l’ensemble de la culture française quand le travailleur « doit laisser sa langue maternelle, le français, au vestiaire ».
French as a Working Language
The history of languages is divided in three different periods. We find that changes are relatively slow during the first one going from the beginning of our world to the mid-nineteenth century. It is in the latter that began a second period in the western part of the world characterized by a more or less important industrialization depending upon the countries, by the development of communications but especially by a massive scholarization of the youngest part of the population. It is here that the common language became more and more popular and finally obtained a great prestige.
The third period began with the appearance of radio and television. These means of communication contributed to the introduction of the common language in each and every home. However in a more and more industrialized society as ours, there is one element that plays and will play a very important role in the future of French that is the language at work.
Normally the language fluently used at work, as in Germany for example, contributes to the growing of the worker. For the French Canadian, his language at work is not French but English. Instead of having the chance to learn and to become in touch with sectors of the language he would have never known otherwise, the workers lose their French if not they surely do not improve it. Because useless at work, our French becomes at the end a language internally damaged which nobody will try to improve, lack of interest. The worker is far from being responsible for the deterioration of its language. He rather is the victim of an absurd situation.
We have looked for solutions but nobody ever dared considering the root of the problem. This situation will be hopeless unless French becomes the language of the French Canadian at work. But if French cannot become the language of the French Canadian at work, logic leads me to ask the following question : why would not we teach English at all levels ? Therefore nobody will suffer of such a ridiculous and odious situation which cannot last longer.
It is the duty of our teachers to correct this situation. The future of French in Quebec is at stake.